Tech Advice for Startups

To get your startup off the ground, no matter the nature of the business, you must be involved with technology. You may have the best business plan in the universe, but without a way to disseminate that information, the idea is virtually useless. Technology and tech advice is necessary on almost every level in the process of starting a modern business. All the tech advice available may seem intimidating at first, especially if your startup is not tech related. But, below we have assembled just a few bits of advice to help guide your startup down the path of success.

Tech Advice for Startups

Build Reliable Security:

Security should always be at the forefront of every business venture. Once you have a  great idea, you will need to make sure you can protect it. One way of ensuring protection is through technological security. Something as simple as developing strong passwords can help keep your intellectual property safe. Don’t give away your login information or let employees use your email or computer. If you aren’t a tech-oriented startup, or if you don’t have your own IT department, it might be wise to reach out to an outside company that could assist in strengthening your business’ security.  

Invest Wisely:

Starting a business isn’t cheap. However that doesn’t mean it should break the bank. Don’t get caught up in superficial elements of your business, that can come later. Use investor’s money as directly and efficiently as possible. Focus on the product and the mission of the business as a whole. Once you’ve built a strong base and web of connections, then you can step back and channel energy back into developing your business’ image.

Make Communication a Priority:

Whatever your business, strength in communication will no doubt be a benefit. Whether that means communication with investors, employees, or clients, you need to hold those relationships with high regard. One way to do so is through transparency and keeping everyone informed. There are many ways that technology can support those relationships. For one, maintaining an active and consistent presence on the internet and social media is a great way to communicate across multiple platforms. Investors and clients won’t be participating in the day-to-day goings on around the office. So instead, use tools such as Instagram and Facebook to allow them to feel involved and in the know. Social media can help to create a more personalized image of a company and in turn stronger connections with those that support them.

If you are in the process of putting together your own startup and are in need of IT help, we’d love to hear from you! Give us a call today at (502) 890-7665 to learn more about our services. 

5 Tech Insights from 2017 Mobile World Congress

tech insightsIf you’re familiar with the world of technology then chances are you’ve heard of Mobile World Congress. Every year, the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) gathers operators, companies, and innovators to represent mobile operations across the world. This year, the 2017 Mobile World Congress was in Barcelona, Spain. The Congress focused on “how mobile is the force behind every emerging innovation” with the theme of “The Next Element”. Representatives from over 200 countries attended and well over 2,000 companies participated in the exhibition. These companies brought their best tech insights with them. In this blog, we’ve covered 5 impressive tech insights that came out of the 2017 Mobile World Congress; however keep in mind that there were hundreds more that also deserve recognition.

5 Tech Insights from 2017 Mobile World Congress

1. Apptimize

Apptimize is a company that’s doing exactly what their name says they are – optimizing applications. This approach assists apps on both Android and iOS in a rapid fashion to make sure that each user is having the best experience possible. The team at Apptimize achieves this through a/b testing, feature flagging, and instant updating. The overall goal of Apptimize is to give companies the option to not be prevented from improving their mobile applications by customer’s data plans or approvals through third-party providers. Apptimize has the ability to improve application usability for major companies and small business alike. In a world getting busier and busier while data becomes more and more limited, that’s a big deal!

2. Teamleader

Teamleader is another innovation that is focusing on small and medium enterprises along with big businesses, but in a completely different way than Apptimize. The platform is an overall small business management solution and includes: an online CRM, meeting calendar, automatic invoicing solutions, the ability to plan and time track project, plus much more. They also offer a mobile app that gives business owners access to everything that is available on the desktop version. In the world we live in, the all-in-one solution Teamleader offers is exactly what the world of technology-based business needs.

3. Airobotics

Drones have become a popular topic of conversation at technology conventions around the globe recently. Airobotics is offering a solution to the needs of this complex industry by offering industrial drones with full automation.  Through Airobotics, drones could be pilotless with the capability to self-deploy and land themselves. Airobotics makes their drones out of industrial grade material for excessive durability. The ability to schedule the drone’s operations and the 1 cm accuracy that Airobotics is advertising makes this feat impressive. Currently Airobotics is pitching their solutions to specific industries including: mining, seaports, oil & gas companies, as well as industrial facilities. Through automation, certain tasks in these fields could become much safer and more streamlined which leaves people to work on growing the industries instead of running them.

4. Amplitude

The mission at Amplitude is to “enable everyone to improve their business using data”. Founded in 2012, Amplitude came to exist because another application the inventors were working on didn’t give enough analytics for them to find exactly what they were looking for in regards to data. With Amplitude, businesses are able to analyze certain metrics and target problem areas, plus much more including focusing on user behavior to see what drives people towards business and how to keep them coming back. Amplitude offers a data-rich user-retention plan in one package. On top of that insight, Amplitude offers a unique sharing platform, so an entire team can stay on top of insights in one location that supports integrated communication. There are many other benefits that come with Amplitude and it’s available to try for free on their website.

5. pureLiFi

Can you imagine a world where data is transmitted through light instead of routers? The innovators at pureLiFi are working on making that concept a reality that will be available to the public. LiFi comes from two words: Light and Fidelity and is networked, bidirectional wireless communication using the light spectrum to provide users with connectivity. The LiFi team wants to bring network accessibility into offices, homes, cars, streets, and public spaces through lighting fixtures instead of traditional radio frequencies. Opening up the availability of Internet access and making the connection stronger through multiple access points is the kind of innovation that will only further the world’s technological uses. At pureLiFi, they are hoping to do just that by offering a multitude of more pathways over which data can travel.

The theme of “The Next Element” at this year’s Mobile World Congress brought some impressive tech insights onto the scene. The five that we’ve highlighted give the technological world different planes on which to grow. Each of these tech insights will benefit businesses, companies, industries, and the public also. Follow this link to see a full list of the products and approaches discussed at the ‘17 Mobile World Congress.

We get excited about new technological advancements at Number8. Our Scrum approach to software development is a newer concept, too and the approach benefits our productivity and turnaround time. Some of the insights mentioned in our blog could help your business or company’s productivity. So could hiring an offshore development team to take care of your software needs behind the scenes. Interested in learning more about Number8 and what we can do to help your company? Contact us today by clicking here or calling 502-890-7665.

 

Trends in IT Outsourcing: 2017 and Beyond

outsourcing trendsLast year introduced a wide range of technological growth as well as changes in the way we use technology. Why would 2017 be any different? Below we’ve outlined just a few of the new IT outsourcing trends that have started to emerge this year.   

Heightened Security

Cyber security was a hot-button issue throughout 2016. It seemed as though each week there was a new security or data breach. This year, tech companies will be on high alert for anything potentially threatening to their security. This could also compel them to invest more. More time and money will go into technology such as RPA, or other advanced measures to increase security. This may also lead to an increase in companies whose sole focus is on helping tech companies secure their private information.

Artificial Intelligence

The growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) has reached new heights in recent years. While AI and RPA are still being developed, tech companies are already beginning to take advantage. Automation will allow for outsourcing to be even more affordable. It will also help to standardize and streamline processes. However, the technology may be advancing faster than most companies, or customers can handle. It could become complicated to work AI and RPA into already established contracts.

In an article published in January of 2017, CIO writer Stephanie Overby explained the issues that could arise from using AI and RPA. “A move to an AI- or RPA- centric solution could make it more difficult for the customer to switch providers down the line. The service levels put in place at the time of contract signing may no longer be appropriate in a more highly automated environment,” she wrote. “On the flip side, customers whose deals do not address these capabilities may fall behind if competitors begin to deploy them and their IT service providers do not adopt these newer approaches.”

Increased Cloud Usage

Cloud technology has become much more commonplace in the past few years. In 2017, tech experts predict that the Cloud will become even more integrated in business processes. This widespread usage will also require the Cloud to grow and adapt to the advancement of the surrounding technology.

Political Involvement

The election of Donald Trump in 2016, along with the recent “Brexit” decision have both caused some political upheaval. There have been some major changes to cross-national policies, including President Trump’s insistence on bringing jobs back into America. This may have a negative effect on outsourcing trends, but there haven’t been any definitive rulings yet on how the Trump administration views the usage of outsourced IT teams, however we can assume that it isn’t a positive outlook. Tech companies who outsource work will have to start planning and renegotiating contracts to stay ahead of any policy changes that could limit their connections with outsourced teams.

Growth, change, and adaptability are all at the core of technology. Each year brings new challenges and failure in the tech world. But each of those challenges and failures have the potential to lead to something new. If you’re interested in learning more about the technological advancements and outsourcing trends we are embracing here at Number8, give us a call at (502) 890-7665 or read more from our website.

 

Improve Your IT Team’s Velocity with These 10 Tips

IT Team Velocity in Agile Methodology

An example chart of an IT team’s velocity.

A core aspect of agile methodology is the concept of velocity. Velocity is determined through the sum of the estimates of delivered features per iteration. It refers to the amount of backlog a scrum team can handle during a sprint period. This quickly becomes essential to agile teams as it helps plan for future projects and estimate completion times. It is also helpful in determining which specific teams and methods are more productive.

Ways to Enhance Your Team’s Velocity

Enhancing velocity, and therefore increasing a team’s capability to produce high-quality work, is a main objective for IT companies. Below we have listed a few ways to help improve your team’s velocity:

  1. Set Goals– Even as agile method allows for adaptive practices, it does not mean that a team should jump into a project without specific end goals in mind. The methods that you use to get there may vary along the way, but a successful project means reaching the goals proposed with the initial project.
  2. Communicate– A scrum team may be comprised of as many as seven individuals. While each person’s abilities will be necessary in achieving the goals of a project, too many people could lead to an overflow of ideas. Before getting too deep in a project, each team member should be aware of their exact responsibilities. Everyone on the team should remain in contact and communicate their progress throughout each iteration.
  3. Collaborate– Introducing new team members through outsourcing can be extremely helpful in team velocity. An experienced outsourced team will bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to a project.
  4. Be Flexible– Flexibility is essential in the agile method. As a team, you should mimic the flexible nature of the method in your work and your mindset. Don’t get caught up in work that isn’t directly benefiting the project. Be aware of when an idea isn’t working. Don’t waste time on a method just because it worked for a project in the past.   
  5. Streamline– Always analyze the workflow of you and your team. Make sure there are no habits within the process that are negatively affecting your velocity. Are there reports, paperwork, emails, memos, that don’t actually add anything substantial to the process?
  6. Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings– While communication is key, it is also important to avoid long, drawn out meetings that don’t accomplish anything. Be cautious of built-in meetings. Instead only host them when they will actually be beneficial to the team.
  7. Minimize Distractions– If you are able to stick to a plan throughout the course of a project, then it will be easier to stay on task. Everyone gets distracted sometimes, it is only human, but if you can set out specific goals each day then it will be easier to notice when you are falling behind and when it is time to refocus.
  8. Trust the Employees– Micromanaging can decrease confidence and productivity in employees. Trust that your employees and coworkers are just as motivated and involved as you, and that they are capable of producing quality products. There is no use in stressing over the work of others; instead spend your time focusing on your own work.
  9. Keep Track– One of the many benefits of using velocity is the ability to record each iteration of each project and use that data to predict future productivity. To get to that point you must be vigilant about keeping track of each move within each iteration. Before beginning a project you will need to notice how many team members will be working on the project, and how many hours they will need to spend. Be aware of how the velocity changes with each iteration. It should fluctuate within a reasonable range, but if it changes drastically between more than one or two iterations, you may need to renegotiate the plan.
  10. Plan for the Future– Take advantage of the velocity! By following the steps above you will be able to develop a backbone of each team and their capabilities. Use this to help predict and plan for future iterations.

For more information about agile software development and improving team velocity, give us a call at (502) 890-7665.